This article was written by Rishi K and originally appeared on the Alteryx Analytics Blog here: https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Analytics/Cloudy-With-a-Chance-of-Digital-CFOs/ba-p/834826
The Digital CFO has expertise across many functions, including forecasting abilities to help organisations transaction future growth opportunities. Alteryx’s recent webinar series (check it out On Demand here) referred to technological advancements such as Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation, and with shifting times ahead, CFOs are spending more time to digitalise their complete financial processes to the Cloud and gain many advantages.
Digital Transformation and Cloud Strategies tend to go hand-in-hand and it’s evident that organisations that had started such initiatives prior to the global pandemic have been able to adapt more easily to the new way of working. I work with customers/prospects primarily in Financial Services and Insurance, and I have seen that such Strategies have really shone the light on proper execution of functions, such as GL reconciliation, forecasting or reporting. We’ve had to do this remotely or from locations other than the office and some organisations have fared better than others. The CFO has played a key role when looking at operational tasks and various forms of expenditure such as Capex and Opex. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that need to be considered when we link Cloud with Digital Transformation to each other.
In any organisation that leverages data and lots of it, not just in Banking or Insurance, security and control is the largest area of concern. Although the cloud has been around for a long time, the shift is still seen as risky especially in organisations who have physical objects that store their data. This is still seen as being more secure than saving or processing something to the cloud. However, this is definitely a misconception, especially when the cloud provides access control, authentication, encryption, secure deletion, integrity checking, and data masking, to name a few features.
Data Quality and Governance
This is the bread and butter of the Alteryx Analytics Process Automation Platform, and I see that many organisations still do not focus on the efforts required to ensure that the data quality is high and there is some form of governance in place, especially in Finance. The cloud environments force organisations in a way for this to be considered to ensure there is quicker time to market and shorter implementation times. However, even though there is time savings, the time spent on preparing your data prior to these steps can be significant.
When it comes to Cloud Strategies and Cloud-First approaches, people assume that only IT are driving them for organisations, however they aren’t solo or in silo. IT are key stakeholders in these initiatives, but they have to partner up with the Business stakeholders and users, such as Finance, HR, and Operations; and IT support them in scoping out the migration of the business process, data and operations.
Based on what I see with our customers and prospects, this needs to be a business-led approach and process. It should not only be the technology that attracts you to move to the cloud (where IT advise and fit) but it needs to make business and transformational sense.
Capex and Opex Considerations
I worked in Technology divisions and saw many organisations depending on in-house models/data centres, for example when they are leveraging the Alteryx Server. Over the last 18-20 months, we’ve seen organisations withdraw their plans on the Capex and Opex investments. Cloud gives organisations the way in to scale dynamically and offload the risks associated to investing in their own infrastructure.
Cloud and Digital Transformation in the Office of Finance
Considering the Cloud in my opinion needs to be done where it is a medium or enabler in your Digital Transformation. It should allow you to run your finance processes and operations leveraging the data storage, prep and blend, robotics or advanced analytics capabilities in a proper co-ordinated way.
It doesn’t have to be done in a big bang way. Due to the flexibility of cloud environments, I’d advise this to be considered in a planned and stepwise manner quite similarly to a ‘Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly’ approach.
How can Alteryx Help
Migrating to the Cloud is only one of many cogs of your Digital Transformation wheel and really this is the transformation of three things in one: Data, Process and People.
When these three are disconnected from each other, there is a higher chance of your Digital Transformation to fail.
The Alteryx Analytic Process Automation Platform aligns these core assets.
We partner with our customers/prospects to help them with their organisational strategies and imperatives and support the building of business cases for a better future.
We have individual teams working with organisations as one village and one team with the same goals and dreams, through providing support from individuals such as me, or our COE (Center of Excellence/Enablement), Value Engineering, and even more powerfully, our technology and GSI (Global System Integrator) partnerships.